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R3 Report: Sixers score win over Cairns

The Wilson Adelaide 36ers announced a top-line naming rights sponsor and a world-class import before Thursday night’s game against Cairns Taipans. Then they added a memorable win as new import Jerome Randle scored 24 points and showed himself to be a must-see player while inspiring the Sixers to an 88-79 win at Titanium Security Arena.

Randle’s long-shooting and rapid-fire crossover dribble were on show but when foul trouble forced him from the court, Sixers’ leaders Adam Gibson (15 points, eight assists), Daniel Johnson (13 points, eight rebounds) Ebi Ere (12 points) and Anthony Petrie (12 points) all scored key baskets.

Taipans forward Cameron Tragardh suited for his 300th NBL game and he showed his inside game was as sharp as ever with 16 points while import Markel Starks caught fire in the last term and finished with 15 points while Taipans’ captain Cameron Gliddon added 13 points.

Sixers coach Joey Wright said his side had earned a valuable win both on and off the court.

“He was exactly what we were missing while Kenyon [McNeail] was injured,” Wright said.

“We needed someone who could make a decision off the dribble but we are still getting used to him.

“A lot of time we got caught standing and watching him where we need to remember to cut and when we did that at the end Petrie and Creek got easy buckets.

“We can’t get caught up watching him even though he is pretty fun to watch.”

Taipans coach Aaron Fearne said his side paid for not finishing around the basket.

“If we finished around the rim a little better it would be a different ball game,” Fearne said.

“We are just too inconsistent, we have patches where we are very good offensively and defensively, we have individuals who are very good in patches but then we go the other way.

“We are all over the place right now and we have to knuckle down.

“That third quarter was fantastic for us and we were in the ball game but they we come out in the fourth and it’s a 10-point game because we turned the ball over and missed a layup and they went score, score - that puts pressure on your team.”

Randle was thrown into the contest late in the first term and he immediately went to work knocking down his first jump shot as the home side led 28-23 at quarter time.

 In the second term a late Ere three-pointer then a powerful two-handed dunk from Nathan Sobey saw the home side ahead 54-43 at half time.

The Sixers threatened to extend their lead as Randle moved into double-figures but he also picked up his third foul and his removal from the game offered the visitors a chance.

The Taipans responded with Cameron Gliddon making some big baskets before Mark Worthington and Tragardh scored key points as they stormed back to tie scores although two late free-throws from Ere gave the Sixers a 67-65 lead at the last break.

Randle was thrown back in to start the final term and he caught fire making a three then driving rapidly to the basket to help his side back to an 11-point lead.

But the Taipans’ weren't done with Tragardh and Starks making big plays to keep them within reach although a long three-pointer from Mitch Creek made sure the Sixers earned the win.

Sixers guard Brendan Teys landed on Lucas Walker’s foot late in the second quarter and hurt his ankle - he did not return and could be in doubt for their next game.

The Sixers will visit Sydney Kings on Friday night at 7.30pm while the Taipans travel to Melbourne to face Melbourne United at Hisense Arena on Saturday night at 7.30pm.

Adelaide 36ers 88 (Randle 24, Gibson 15, Johnson 13) Cairns Taipans 79 (Tragardh 16, Starks 15, Gliddon 13)

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